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The bipartisan divide on American gun control policies

The recent school shooting on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas devastated the entire country and the world with the deaths of nineteen children and two adults at Robb elementary. The shooter was 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was killed on sight by law enforcement officers at the scene. In the wake of the shooting, the country’s main political partiesDemocratic and Republican, are divided on their stance on gun control laws.


 


Heated debates on gun control have become a common occurrence after every deadly mass shooting in America, but in the end, there is rarely ever a productive outcome. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (Democrat) is leading the Democratic governors’ push for stricter gun control laws, meaning things like mandatory background checks and safe gun storage.


 


The Republican party’s stance is that more money should be put into mental health resources in order to control and prevent the violent outbursts that cause mass shooters to commit such terrible acts, but no significant amount of Republicans have supported stricter gun control laws. However, many Republican governors are in favor of increasing armed security at schools by providing guards, decreasing the number of possible entrances, and training teachers and staff to operate weapons and handle shooters.


 


The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most powerful special interest associations in favor of protecting the right to bear arms. It uses its significant amount of funds to influence gun policy. The NRA condemned the act of violence done in Texas and said they would "redouble our commitment to making our schools secure."


 


This ongoing divide on stricter gun control laws has led to many filibusters and arguments among legislators for over a decade, but silence from the U.S. Congress for a long time. The American public is not as divided on the issue, however:9 out of 10 Americans agree that stricter gun laws are a good idea. In contrast, almost half of the senators voting on bills are against it, and most are Republican: Senator Murphy’s 14-hour, 50-minute long filibuster on stricter gun policies yielded a vote of 55 in favor vs. 45 not in favor, failing the 60-vote requirement to pass the bill.


 


But putting aside political party or affiliation, the tragic deaths of so many young children in these mass shootings have been a sad recurrence in the past decades. From the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, to the Parkland shootings in Colorado, the common factors are unstable and dangerous people with access to guns. Something surely needs to change, and fast, before more families and parents lose their loved ones. A bipartisan commitment to the safety of citizens, especially children, is a necessary development in facing such difficult circumstances.


 


 


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